Funraise has content goals. Otherwise, why even make content, right? As we build content, we want to think in terms of the long game. We also need to remember that we’re in the middle of the long game right now… so, stuff we’ve done in the past can help us out or bite us in the butt.
We value accessibility in writing, which means writing for audiences that don't consume content the way we do. These audiences may include visually impaired, colorblind, text-only, non-English language, non-native English language.
No one is an island and everyone makes mistakes—get someone to glance over your work before sending or publishing to evaluate writing, images, and timing.
We refuse to use language that excludes or metaphors that set us in opposition. If we're against an idea or value system, we'll be direct, not subtle. To this end, we strive to use gender-open or gender-creative writing rather than gendered terms.
Funraise supports Black Lives Matter. We support equity for POCs. We build content that doesn't shy away from questions of equity and centers the voices of those who have been silenced. To this end, we strive to use language that acknowledges our privilege and uses it to uplift others.
Funraise’s tone is playful and friendly. There’s very little room for jargon in the way we communicate because jargon is not only the antithesis of friendliness, it’s also just boring and hard to read. I like this example of jargon: “an orderly transition between career changes while undergoing a period of non-waged involuntary leisure during your temporary outplacement.” Otherwise known as being fired.
Please don't write with a voice that could be related to specific public figures
Dated slang is a no-go. It's one thing to be nostalgic or to use established slang, especially when it fits our friendly vibe. When it's brand-new or sarcastic or otherwise condescending or snarky, we need to stay away. Examples:
We're beside ourselves with excitement over SumOfUs.org's style guide. It's A LOT, to be sure, but it's thorough and comprehensive, organized and easy-to-navigate, and having it as a resource is a huge help. https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.sumofus.org/images/SUMOFUS_PROGRESSIVE-STYLEGUIDE.pdf
This is a superb examination process for content. Created by Vu Le and updated regularly, it uses a REACH (Representation, Experience, Accessibility, Compensation, Harm Reduction) approach to screening for equity in content. https://nonprofitaf.com/2019/08/content-creators-heres-an-equity-screen-to-use-as-you-work-on-your-next-blog-post-book-podcast-or-video/
We use "crazy" only in rare and highly specific circumstances. Same goes for words that are associated with other mental or physiological disorders. Ugh.
Culturally appropriated slang, ugh. It's not that we shouldn't use these terms at all, but we should make conscious choices as we create content, using terms that are clearly not appropriated when we can. Examples:
Gendered language is outdated and perpetuates institutionalized stereotypes. Ugh. An exception is when we know for sure a person's gender, regardless of what we see when we look at them. Also, for nonprofits that focus on working with a specific gender, like Beloved Atlanta, we can talk about their constituents' gender. (But it's nice to be gender-open even in this case!)
Race touches our society every day, in ways white people often cannot see but BIPOC feel. Funraise supports Black Lives Matter. We support equity for POCs. We build content that doesn't shy away from questions of equity and centers the voices of those who have been silenced. To this end, we choose language that acknowledges our privilege and uses it to uplift others' perspectives. In supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color through content, Funraise must tamp out microaggressions, highlight the "hidden" inequities, and uplift anti-racist perspectives, language, and stories.
Funraise actively eschews words and content that do not align with our values and commitment, including words or images that reinforce stereotypes, language that trivializes the experiences of BIOPOC, messages that reinforce white dominant culture or norms that are rooted in white supremacy, and strengthens a counter-narrative based on a racial justice equity vision by asking and answering as we create content:
A great source of guidance when writing about race is Race Forward's Race Reporting Guide: https://www.raceforward.org/sites/default/files/Race%20Reporting%20Guide%20by%20Race%20Forward_V1.1.pdf
Words don't always get the message across in the most complete, efficient way, so when an image, emoji, or meme can help us express what we're trying to say, let's use it! Especially if we're writing a lot of words, sometimes an image is just humongously refreshing to the eyes and brain.
We use images when they contribute heavily to the content, similarly to how we don't talk just to be loud. We use only properly-sized, correct filetype images, and we get someone to look over before publishing.
Regarding digital blackface and digital cultural appropriation:
Our use of imagery should reflect our stance on slang: "Dated slang is a no-go. It's one thing to be nostalgic or to use established slang, especially when it fits our friendly vibe. When it's brand-new or sarcastic or otherwise condescending or snarky, we need to stay away."